WHY ARE you people staring?" Moses asked. "Don't you recognize me?" No one answered. The wide-eyed onlookers silently kept backing away from him. As Moses increased his pace, the crowd retreated faster. Suddenly Moses spotted Aaron, and beckoned to him. Even Aaron seemed hesitant to approach. "Why is everyone backing off?" Moses asked Aaron. Soon it was evident to both men that closeness to God had caused Moses' skin to shine with such a divine radiance that his facial features were hardly discernible. It was necessary for him to cover his head to prevent onlookers from becoming alarmed.
Moses Summons the Elders
Next morning he gathered the elders to tell them what had happened. Because his skin still glowed brightly, he kept a veil over his face. This was necessary, especially later when he addressed crowds, to keep children from becoming upset. When he talked to all the people, he reminded them they should faithfully and carefully observe the Sabbaths. "They are eternal signs that God is our God and we are His people," Moses pointed out. "I have news of a special work we must carry out right away. Some of you will feel so ambitious about it you will be tempted to work on it on the Sabbath. God knows this. He has instructed me no fire shall be kindled on a Sabbath for the purpose of sharpening tools, melting metals or anything having to do with unnecessary work. God is aware of your needs. He doesn't forbid the use of fires on the Sabbath for light, heat or other necessities." (Ex. 35:1-3.)
Moses had been discouraged by the way many Israelites had failed to obey the Fourth Commandment. Probably he would have been dismayed if he could have foreseen how so-called spiritual leaders of the future would distort and even ignore that law.
How Men Misrepresent God's Law
Posing as ministers of God, such men proclaim that it isn't possible to obey these eternal spiritual laws, and that those who try to are placing themselves under a curse. One of the arguments is that it isn't possible to observe the Fourth Commandment because people can't live without kindling a fire every day. "Jesus nailed the Ten Commandments to the cross," they claim. The Ten Commandments weren't nailed to the cross. Christ was nailed there to pay for people's sins by dying instead. Because He was the supreme sacrifice, the temporary laws having to do with the sacrifices are no longer necessary. They were given in Moses' day to remind man of his sin and of his coming Saviour. Since Christ has already come, we don't need them today. (Gal. 3:19 and Heb. 10:3-4.) But the Ten Commandments are everlasting. They're spiritual, not ceremonial. Eternal life, a gift from God, can't be earned, and God won't give it without obedience to Him. There must be repentance of sins, which is a deep regret for wrong things done. Every human being has sinned. That is failing to obey God's sacred laws, the foremost being the Ten Commandments. On repentance, God is pleased to forgive and remove sin by blotting out all past mistakes, but to gain everlasting life, one must live from then on by the Creator's rules, which are for happiness, good health and success. Often they are difficult to obey, but God gives ability to overcome and a growing hope of becoming a spirit being. (Matthew 10:22.) When one considers that most so-called Christian churches teach the opposite of many things God shows through the Bible, one begins to realize how carefully the remarks of self-styled spiritual leaders must be regarded. The matter of "kindling fire" may not at first appear of great importance, but it's just one example of how some will vainly try to eliminate the Ten Commandments. Having warned the people of the importance of observing the Sabbath, Moses outlined for them the wonderful plan for a place in which God could be with them as they moved toward Canaan. "Even though we have sinned greatly, our God has promised to stay in our midst as long as we obey Him," Moses told the Israelites.